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Channahon votes to hire intern for CEDC

CHANNAHON – Monday night’s meeting of the Channahon Village Board started with a moment of silence for resident Bob Waters, who was active in several community groups such as the Lions Club, and who died last week, as well as for those affected by Sunday’s tornadoes in Diamond, Coal City and other Illinois towns.

Trustee Missey Schumacher also thanked Channahon’s police department for sending two officers to assist in Diamond after Sunday’s storm.

Discussion centered on whether to appoint an intern to help the Channahon Economic Development Corp. The village contributes funds to the relatively new CEDC, and staff were asked to interview and appoint a student intern to work in village hall and to oversee his or her work.

The University of St. Francis’ career services department would coordinate the search for the intern, although Channahon Village Administrator Joe Pena said the student could be from St. Francis or another university.

The unpaid intern would work for university credit hours. The village may have liability for the student, however, and would devote some staff hours to the position.

“Basically, we are looking for a desk and a chair,” village trustee and CEDC Executive Committee Director Scott Slocum said.

The discussion among trustees on the proposal became heated.

Trustee Scott McMillin had questions and comments about the village’s liability of an intern, the kind of work the intern would do and about the efficacy of the CEDC in general.

He also brought up the fact the village was asked to contribute to the corporation initially, with additional funding coming from other sources, but has not yet materialized.

Trustee Sam Greco asked Slocum if the CEDC had asked industry to partner by contributing donations to the corporation.

Slocum countered McMillin’s comments with strong words of his own, defending the corporation and saying it was doing more than the village has been doing to attract new economic development to the area.

Trustee Debbie Militello wanted the board to receive more information from the CEDC.

“We’re the sole funding source,” she said. “As the sole funding source, we need to know what’s happening.”

McMillin said he was in favor of an intern, and would be in favor of hiring someone to spur economic development.

In the end, trustees unanimously approved authorizing the village administrator to appoint an intern.

The Village Board also approved the preliminary tax levy, setting the value at $2.106 million, out of five options given to them by finance director Bob Guess. The levy would be a 2.74 increase over this year’s levy and would cost the owner of $210,000 a home an additional $17.51 for the year, for the village’s portion of property taxes.

Militello and Mark Scaggs voted against the levy, instead preferring “option B,” which would have taken less out of taxpayers’ pockets but left the village fewer dollars.

The levy is based on the expected EAV of village property, which Guess estimated at $273.5 million for 2013. This is the fourth year in a row the EAV of property in the village has dropped.

Guess said that’s a drop of 25 percent, or $91 million, over the last four years combined.

The good news, he said, is that new construction valuation in the village is expected to be $1.48 million.

The Village Board is expected to vote on the levy Dec. 16.

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